I am no expert. When it comes to running you must become student and master of your own mind, body and spirit. I am still learning. Even after averaging 8 mile per day for the past 10 years I have yet to achieve sensei status . . . but experience and miles of meditation at 7 mph have pointed me toward several conclusions.
If you are a new distance runner, or just runner-curious, let me share a few things I know to be (mostly) true:
Calories In/Calories Out. So, how many diets have come and gone over the past decade? How many have you tried? Lots of various and sundry plans for calories in. Here’s the easy part . . . and the hard part: If you commit as much time, education and mental energy to the calories out part of the equation, you. can. eat. just. about. anything. you. want. If the fire is hot enough, anything will burn.
Shoes Are a Religious Question. There are about 7 billion homo sapiens on this planet. If they all wanted shoes (a big assumption) it would take approximately 14 billion models to truly satisfy the gnarly-to-dainty continuum required by that unique bag of bones attached to the bottom of the leg. Until that level of customization becomes available, we must make our way to The Church of Perpetual Running. Take a seat at the pew of a local running store (ask other believers, they will guide your path to the good ones) and repent as the minister lays hands on your feet, pronounces you a sinful pronator and accepts your generous offering after extensive readings from the Books of Asics, Mizuno, Brooks and Newton. After a couple years you will settle in to a shoe model that works for you. Now you can go to the Church of Google and find your shoes on closeout for 40% off. And, if you are one of those atheists (aka SHOELESS BAREFOOT RUNNERS), please disregard the above. There is no saving you.
DUDE, I AM SO HIGH. I am here to tell you that the runner’s high is real. Elusive, but real. When it does show up, for about 45 minutes after you run you are a heady mixture of tornadic rainbows and indestructible unicorns. If someone ever cures cancer, solves world hunger or brings about lasting world peace, I am pretty sure it will occur within one hour of a hard, sweaty run. And if the runner’s high is a no show? I have never finished a run and regretted it. N.E.V.E.R.
You Should Meet Your Neighbors. Running is for sociophobic introverts. If that’s what you want. But I have found it to be one of the greatest, most natural ways to explore and connect. Here’s a few tips. The first time you see a runner, walker or neighbor while out on a run, smile, wave, say “hi” and move on. My friend and podcaster Trevor Spencer recommends sharing a “runner’s grunt”. Do not do this. The next time you see that same runner/walker/neighbor, slow to a walk, pull out your earbuds and talk to them. You will have found a new friend and kindred spirit. When is it OK to share the runner’s grunt? Never. Only do this if you are a sociophobic introvert and want to stay that way.
Because You Want To. Reason not to run a marathon: Because Oprah did it. Running takes commitment. The benefits are enormous. But there is only one good reason why you should take it up: because you want to. Will your knees wear out? Yes. About 10 years (on average) after the knees of sedentary people have given up. 10 years. And, oh, the places you will go in the meantime.
So, there you are . . . the wisdom of 30,000 miles concentrated into a saucy reduction of 5 tasty spoonfuls.
Here’s what else is going on:
Life & Hope Fund Update: We are up to $1750 raised to help cancer patients and their families! Big Leadfeet KUDOS to Paul & Cindy F, Matt D, Jean B, Corinne S, Laura & Jens C, Claire C, Dan & Linda T and Noel & Irene A! Click here to learn more about how you can help. And click here to see who has made it on to the Motivation Mile list!
Training Update: 84 miles this past week, 1248 ytd. Eyeing my first 50-mile training run next weekend. It would cost about $12 to drive that far in my Yukon . . . I’ll probably spend twice that in GUs and Gatorade. I’ll keep adding distance for now and work on the hills (um, mountains) in Colorado over Memorial Day and follow that Grandma’s Marathon in mid-June.